Monday, 20 October 2014

Never a dull moment




 

I'd had my morning stroll around the garden and was having a quiet cup of coffee whilst reading the Sunday papers when our friendly neighbourhood pair of squirrels decided to come out to play.  Not content with the nuts we put out for them on a table by the fence, as always they found it fun to play on the bird feeders and boxes etc. 


One squirrel we call Superman -  because he doesn't only jump from one feeder to the other - a good metre away, he literally leaps through the air to get what he wants before the birds get there. Of course he's a lot bigger than they are so he wins every time.















These squirrels give us such a lot of pleasure all year round - we spend many afternoons watching their antics when they're either foraging for nuts and then burying them in our lawn (!!!) or chasing along our fence to see who gets to the nuts first.


This one was actually posing for the photo I took through my French windows. He sat there for ages as though he was waiting for my camera to snap him.


Thank you for all your comments you left on my last post - they mean a lot and are much appreciated.

Have a good week.




Thursday, 9 October 2014

Anniversary trip



John treated us to a day out this week for our 44th wedding anniversary. We boarded the 70 year old and much preserved Paddle Steamer Waverley for a trip up the Thames to London.  It was a beautiful day, albeit a bit windy but nevertheless sunny. Because of this the boat couldn't dock at Southend pier so we were coached to Gravesend for our embarkation.

As you must be aware by now, I am passionate about London and this was a fabulous way of approaching it. Passing many landmarks, old warehouses, factories, ports areas, cranes and so much more besides.


This is the Queen Elizabeth ll bridge that joins Essex with Kent at Dartford 




I've only ever seen the Thames Barrier on the tv and it was fascinating to cruise past




Next came the O2 centre and the Emirates cable cars which takes you from one side to the other side of the river - a ride upon which is definitely on my wish list!


This is the Greenwich Maritime Centre and Royal Observatory



The Cutty Sark standing proudly in the background


When you are in the City you can never actually see the skyline and this was great to see it as we approached London


Again, Docklands is so vast that you can never appreciate it when walking about


Steaming towards Tower Bridge was just the most thrilling experience


and such excitement when it was opened for us to pass through


Once in the Pool of London we had a half an hour moored up before leaving


So what better way of spending the time marvelling at the scene around us 


This is the Old Custom House which we visited in my last post

And of course the majestic Tower of London - standing dominantly by the Thames


And so, as we steamed past Wapping Steps


we made our way back down the Thames towards home







A perfect day that fulfilled all my expectations.

See you soon x

Monday, 6 October 2014

A month ago....

....I said that I was returning after my summer break, and here I am returning again! Where does the time go? Thank you for your lovely comments welcoming me back and yes this time I'm definitely back to stay.

A few weeks ago London was hosting an Open House weekend, whereby many famous and otherwise closed buildings were opened up to the public for viewing free of charge. Not wanting to miss this opportunity, we hot footed it into the City early Sunday morning.


Our first port of call was the church of St Botolph without Aldgate, a prominent and significant church in the City and although a church has been on this site for over 1000 years, this was built around 1744 outside the 'ald' gate on the eastern edge of the City.  Churches at city gates were often dedicated to Botolph, so travellers could pray on arrival and departure from London's busy port area. London had four such churches - Aldersgate, Bishopsgate and Billingsgate and thus the church is regarded as a sort of English St Christopher. 

                         




We had a fascinating talk and wonderful (but very loud) demonstration in the Bell Tower. The church is in possession of a fine peal of eight bells, cast during the eighteenth century at the nearby Whitechapel Bell Foundry (a trip to be made there soon methinks). The tenor bell weighing in at 45 cwt actually caused the tower to sway and rock with the momentum of the peal. Very scary.


A few famous residents in the Parish include Chaucer who lived above the Aldgate gatehouse, Daniel Defoe was married there in 1684. St Isaac Newton lived opposite the church when he was master of the Royal Mint as well as Edmund Spenser the poet who was born there in 1552.

We then attempted to visit the famous Gherkin almost next door but were disappointed to find the queue went around the whole block and would have taken at least an hour to get in so moved on towards the Lloyds Building.




walking past this Old Tea Warehouse - 
there's always something to find in these lovely old allies and back streets.








Our son J works in the Lloyds Building and we've been inside a few times, so we were not too disappointed to find it closed. We then walked along towards Billingsgate and the Old Custom House.


 

In feudal times in order to fight wars, dispense justice and run the country, the King needed money, so tradesmen were charged a fee for importing and exporting goods.

The Thames provided London's access to trade during the middle ages. It is a tidal and navigable river and the city of London developed around the only crossing over it - London Bridge. This was where the ships converged for trading and the reason Custom House was built here - east of the bridge yet within the protection of the city walls.

There has been a Custom House on this site for over 2000 years from when the Romans were here.


We then strolled along the Thames Path towards the Tower of London for our second trip to see the poppies in the moat. A very emotional and spine tingling sight I must say.



It was then back to the car via Pepys Street and the end of a most enjoyable day out


I hope you enjoyed this trip too and I'll be back again in a few days.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Back from bloggy break

It seems like ages that I wrote to say I was having a short bloggy break - this went on for rather a tad longer than I thought. Anyway its lovely to be back and I really have missed you all and your lovely blogs. To be honest, having been away for so long, when I did attempt to get back a couple of weeks ago - I experienced a form of writer's block. Just couldn't put pen to paper (or in this case fingers to keys). Anyway I'm raring to go now.

Just a short resume of the last couple of months to keep you updated:

We treated ourselves to a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate both John's retirement in February and my (last September's) Graduation from Uni. It was a holiday of a life-time and we thoroughly enjoyed both the relaxation on board …..


watching the gorgeous sunsets...



taking in a few tipples...


in our stateroom...


and by the pool...
(well it has to be done, doesn't it)

….and enjoying many excursions to some fabulous places. Starting in Istanbul in the Grand Hotel Hyatt for two nights we then embarked on our cruise ship the Aegean Odyssey and commenced cruising towards Greece and it's Islands, Dubrovnik, Italy and finishing in romantic Venice. More another time.
I also celebrated my birthday on board too

Last weekend we spent a long weekend in Lymington in Hampshire 
where we were able to hop over to the Isle of Wight for an afternoon. 

Several campervan trips and days out have taken up most of our time this summer - which we've enjoyed tremendously as well as catching up with friends and spending lovely days with our grandchildren. All in all a good couple of months.

Now though, Autumn is on its way - my absolute favourite time of the year. Sunny days (mostly) and chilly evenings as well as the evenings drawing in and watching Autumn favourites on the TV - Downton Abbey, Strictly Come Dancing - ooh it doesn't get better than this. I don't change - ever the romantic dreamer!!

See you soon
x


Monday, 23 June 2014

Some catching up and time out….

I realise I've been very neglectful with blogging of late so here is a small catch up/snapshot of what's been going on.


The final stage of my photography course - on location on the
River Chelmer


A very warm day indeed but I learnt such a lot



Enjoying learning about new techniques


Very soon after John took me away for a few days to a delightful guest  house in Arlington snuggled in the heart of the Sussex Downs


where we had our own little terrace from the French doors


to enjoy a cup of tea and cake



but more often a glass of chilled white wine


where the views were just wonderful





 and where I could put my new photographic skills to practice.





This iconic view of the Seven Sisters was something I was on a mission to capture - whew - it was a bit of a walk but well worth it in the end.



This weekend we went to a local VW rally at Battlesbridge, where we met up with the lovely Sandie from Itchifingers who also owns a V-dub. A fabulous afternoon where we spotted some great camper vans and too many to show here. Plus a selection of  some vintage and retro goodies to buy.



Well that's a bit of what's been going on - more another time. As I'm not going to have access to any broadband and internet for the next week, added to which there's a summer-load of busy-ness coming up - holidays, trips, family do's etc I've decided to take a short bloggy break. I'm going to miss catching up with you all but I'll be back mid August-ish when I hope to see you all then.

Bye for now xx